I'm a firm believer of Hanlon's Razor, but over a week, Facebook has flagged a post and a comment of mine, both about Mastodon (and including a link to


@hypolite Oh so it does look like they might have flagged posts/comments linking to joinmastodon. Mhhh.

@shuro I somewhat suspected I wasn't alone, and it just confirms it. Thanks!

@yhancik Before I was banned by Twitter (their AI thought I was a conspiracy theorist for making fun of them), I also had the impression that Tweets linking to did less well than expected. So I mostly linked to a blog post of mine, which linked to

If true that would be anti-competitive behavior, which is officially illegal. I find it hard to believe they would risk that. If someone sings that can cost them a lot of money.

@VictorVenema @yhancik

Facebook and Youtube actively discourage external links (to anything) in posts/comments, there are also settings on YT where the channel owner can choose whether or not to allow external links (not sure whether FB allows community mods to decide this or applies its own automatic policies as I've never used it). I noticed this when trying to comment on YouTube with a link to the Dutch public news service; in this case the comment simply disappeared without any warning >>

@VictorVenema @yhancik

I suspect the corporate social networks aren't singling out Mastodon as such, but discouraging *any* site that could lead the discussion elsewhere (as they are losing out on traffic and potential viewers of ads), a link to an old style forum about pets, cars, electronics would be quite likely to also trigger this (even on those forums if you make lots of links in your first few posts they are usually flagged up for the moderators to check)

@vfrmedia @VictorVenema @yhancik I had 2 YT comments in a row disappear without warning or feedback a few weeks ago and each contained links to different external sites (one to a well known credible blog, another to a peertube instance). Didn't know why...thought I got banned in some way but then a later comment stuck.

I guess the mystery is solved :blobcheeky:

I guess the silos are catching on to the POSSE strategy (Publish Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) and trying to suppress it, but in my opinion that is anti-competitive behaviour and any antitrust decrees should ban the Silos from doing this (only malicious links found through human moderation or user reports should be acted upon)

@vfrmedia @VictorVenema @yhancik the Social Silos and their algorithms have fostered a culture of extreme and sometimes illogical suspicion as well.

From May of 2017 when I set up my masto server until Jan 1 2018 when I deleted my Facebook account all my posts were links to my posts on (my first real attempt at POSSE). FB didn't seem to remove or overtly suppress them but engagement went WAY down, and literally about half the responses I got were DMs from friends saying something like "hey I'm getting all these posts from you linking to this weird site I think you have a virus"


So I resolved to quit FB for 2018 and have enjoyed the #BOMO (bliss of missing out) ever since.

@msh @VictorVenema @yhancik

there's also marketing tactics of startup social networks (including LinkedIn at one point) where they try and email all of your contacts to get them to join..

there may be is a case to use legislation against this, but it will vary between countries and there would need to be proof found that GAFAM are colluding to only share links amongst themselves (YT links on Facebook groups seem to get through) and its not local moderators leaving default setting active..

@vfrmedia @msh @VictorVenema and there's Instagram simply not supporting any link, giving us the cursed "link in bio" thing.

I think there's definitely a certain hostility toward hypertext in their algos, and I suspect there is valid concerns for spam & malware, meeting their own interests in keeping people on their app.

Spam is actually the argument used by Pixelfed for copying the anti-link approach of Instagram. And I was just thinking the other day... spam really does ruin a lot of things

@vfrmedia @msh @VictorVenema it's an irrelevant anecdote, but I noticed last week that the newsletter of the non-profit where I work gets a high amount of hard bounces from mail providers whenever I've used an harmless unicode character in the subject. And of course, that's all because spammers have been abusing unicode characters to, among other things, circumvent spam filters.

@vfrmedia Interesting. I never do well on YouTube. Maybe because I have a tendency to add links to add sources, especially in the waste pit of YouTube.

But discouraging all links is legally different from only blocking/discouraging links to competitors, whether Mastodon or forums.


@VictorVenema the link I posted on a YT comment was to news from a state broadcaster, with no social network element - I'm not sure if it would be considered as "competition".

I suspect its automated moderation systems being set too heavy (another YT thing I noticed was videos on a young lads channel about cars being set to "kids only", in spite of him being old enough to drive and most likely in early 20s! I did warn him on his previous videos but I think he's just given up YT)


@VictorVenema @yhancik

The other day there was a Hacker News post of some FOSS project thrown from Google Play because the website link they referenced contained a link to Patreon.. i.e. the indirect link cause the ban.

What I find most worrying: the extent to which people may be 'shadow suppressed' on a social media network by the AI/ML algorithms, based on undesirable keywords and other text analysis of your content.

That kind of suppression requires algorithmic transparency to detect.

@humanetech Apple and Google demand something like 30% of all app earnings. Which is a ridiculous amount they can only demand because they build a closed monopoly.

They naturally do not want app makers to circumvent this and do not care about FOSS projects, so then you get such rules. Also the control these two companies have on which apps are allowed in destructive and is power corporations should not have.

The fight against monopolies is important to make digital spaces livable.


@VictorVenema @humanetech @yhancik

I'm not sure you can say that. Steam isn't a monopoly (there are definitely credible competitors in the PC app store space including epic and gog) and they take 30% as well.

Moreover, there are other stores on android -- Samsung has their own independent store on every samsung phone, amazon has an app store that runs on android, and I think there's android phones that don't even install google apps by default including the play store.

Apple I can see as a monopoly -- there are technological barriers in place that prevent other stores from operating on the hardware, but Google for all its sins can't really count app store monopoly among them.

@sj_zero I do not know Steam, but a monopoly does not start with owning 100% of the market. It starts when you have market power. Markets are only efficient if market participants do not have power, not selling their product to the consumer, but also no power over the people they buy from, as well as no power on the labor market and no power over the government.

For a system with many small payments 30% could cover transaction costs. It sure does suggest they have power.
@humanetech @yhancik

@damko It seems reasonable to me to require fdroid to be preinstalled, or at least to give people the option to choose it like Microsoft was required to give people choice of web browsers.

@humanetech @yhancik

@VictorVenema @humanetech that's one of the things that always put me off smartphones, they're ecosystems that seem to have been built from the ground-up to give these companies an amount of power that just felt incredibly backward to me.

absolutely, I think it's more about that than this particular joinmastodon case. Algorithmic filtering, flagging, curating or even sorting will always suck, and if they insist on using these, it should be in combination with strategies that mitigate their negative effects, like indeed transparency, but also more human intervention, in order to deal with false positives, etc.

@yhancik yeah, one of my private (friends only, audience of like 40 people) FB posts from almost two years ago got flagged this week. It linked to joinmastodon because I was letting my friends know where I was spending my time; there's no conceivable way that an actual person reported it.

@nessotropheion @yhancik
omg id love to think that Zucc sees Mastodon as a threat...

in reality i dont think theres much of an overlap between the core audiences of the two, and in the case of ppl using both im guessing theyre using them for completely different purposes

@nessotropheion @yhancik
maybe the auto moderation system got in some weird learning loops and this is a symptom of that...

also FB generally doesnt like links that keep people away from their site for too long, so basically everything other than short articles and videos is considered undesirable by their algorithms and as a result becomes less visible.

still wouldnt (at least shouldnt) get moderated unless it violates their guidelines but thats all on paper

@hmilles yes, I understand these moderation systems are imperfect, but that means they should be even more careful and not rely on some automatic flagging without (apparently) human intervention. It's been more than I week since I reported the incorrect flagging of the first post and i still haven't received any reply.

@yhancik indeed it is flawed, i got muted on messenger without a warning or any option to appeal, twice now. my humor was somewhat edgy back then but nothing serious or guideline violating, and not even having any idea what couldve gotten me banned made it just the more frustrating

@nessotropheion so i guess something happened recently (like the link has just been marked as spam by their algo or something) and they've been going through all the posts containing the links in the past couple of weeks 🤔

@yhancik @g i just tried it. Flags it as soon as i finish typing it.

@antijingoist @g I guess the joinmastodon domain is flagged as harmful somewhere in their poorly designed system :p

@londubh I thought of doing that, but then again I'm successfully not using my real name on Facebook and I don't want to tease their moderation team too much :p How did the test go?

@yhancik so far it’s staying up, but then I’ve had posts years old that got flagged. I finally managed to create an FB account not using my real name, so I could see accounts that had blocked me.

@yhancik post is still up and got two likes. Facebook is pretty arbitrary.

@yhancik I had the same situation - the post openly criticizing fb and promoting mastodon was taken down. Numerous other posts with external links, even to mastodon, remain.

@yhancik don't forget Signal's ad-campaign on Instagram was misleading and destructive as well 😆

@yhancik IMO Hanlon's Razor does not apply to companies. Company under capitalism is always driven primarily by profit What I meant is that I don't believe Facebook is blocking because it believes it's a threat to its business, but that it's more likely that it's been incorrectly flagged for some silly reason. They're smart enough to not make themselves look *too* evil, no matter how much they are ;)

@yhancik Yeah, I understand, I just kindly disagree ;) But probably not that much, I think not frontally attacking alternatives is mostly PR and still profit-driven ;)

@Blort isn't Hanlon's a kind of (half-jokey) subset of Occam's? ;)

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!